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November, 1986, Vol. 109, No. 11
Preferred hours of work
and corresponding earnings
If given a choice of working the same, fewer, or more hours at the same rate of pay, most employees would prefer the same number of hours. An additional one-fourth would prefer to work more hours and earn more money, while 8 percent would choose to work fewer hours and earn proportionately less money. This finding that well over half of all workers are satisfied with their present hours and pay is based on information obtained from a new question on the May 1985 supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS), and is consistent with results obtained from similar questions asked by Katona and others in 1966 and by Louis Harris and Associates in 1978.1
The degree of satisfaction with current hours and pay rises steadily with age. It is also positively related to the number of hours worked and the weekly earnings level. The "more hours and more money" option appeals especially to young people, many of whom are working only part time, and its popularity declines steadily with age. A large proportion of minority workers, especially men, would also prefer to work more hours and earn more money.
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1 See G. Katona, B. Strumpel and E. Zahn, Aspirations and Affluence (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1971), pp. 128-33; and Fred Best, "Exchanging Earnings for Leisure: Findings of an Exploratory National Survey on Work Time Preferences" (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration), R&D Monograph 79. The Katona and others questions were asked of a nationally representative sample of household heads. The Harris survey was based on a national sample of employed civilians 17 years of age and over. These two surveys obtained the following results:
Same Fewer More
Katona and others, 1966 ............................................. 56 10 34
Louis Harris and Associates, 1978 ............................ 61 11 28
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